A full 84 percent of healthcare consumers said they would feel a greater sense of loyalty to their preferred provider if their overall health and wellbeing was being supported outside of a clinical setting -- nutrition, stress management and weight loss bring prime examples, according to a new Welltok survey.
In fact, provider organizations are where respondents are most likely to turn for holistic health and wellbeing support, coming in ahead of health plans, pharmacies and employers.
And in an increasingly consumer-oriented industry, cultivating brand loyalty is top of mind for many healthcare providers as they continue to complete for reimbursement dollars.
The "Rethink the Patient Journey" report of more than 1,600 adults across the country showed the vast majority of patients would be more loyal to organizations that extend health and wellbeing support beyond clinical encounters.
Most adults say it's important that their provider organization offers programs and resources that support all aspects of health -- physical, financial, emotional and social. Nearly 75 percent of adults also want continuous interaction with their healthcare provider between appointments and believe their provider should be doing more to support health and wellbeing, even when they aren't sick.
It also appears that a personal touch is essential both in and out of the clinical setting. The majority of adults, 84 percent, feel their provider would better serve them if their health interests, goals and motivations were better known. And 81 percent of respondents would be more likely to follow discharge orders and pre- and post-visit information if they were personalized; 61 percent currently feel the information is too generic.
Meanwhile, while some health organizations are looking for ways to extend the utility of patient portals beyond accessing medical records or scheduling appointments, consumers don't seem all that interested.
When asked about desired activities to be done in a patient portal, adults were less likely to select getting support managing an existing condition (20 percent), finding personalized wellbeing resources such as stress management (12 percent), or participating in health coaching sessions (10 percent), which can be better managed and engaged with a consumer-focused health platform.
The nutrition component in particular has the potential to not only strengthen patient loyalty but reduce healthcare costs.
October research suggested that improving the quality of the average American's diet could substantially reduce costs associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other major health problems. Increasing adherence to the Healthy Eating Index and the Mediterranean-style diet score by even 20 percent could save more than $20 billion in direct and indirect costs.